We took on nearly all of South Cyprus today, beginning with a 45 minute drive out south from Nicosia to the beautiful boardwalks of Limassol and its eponymous castle.
After a quick bite at Pier One, we drove 20 minutes onwards into the British owned autonomous area of Akotiri: one half of the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia and considered a British Overseas Territory. Some would say it’s a reminder of colonialism.
The areas are British military bases and installations retained by the UK under Cyprus’ treaty of independence in 1960. The territory remains a strategic part of UK’s surveillance gathering network in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
While in Akotiri, we stopped for a second meal and dip at one of the numerous beach cafes and bars on Lady’s Mile Beach.
It’s a getaway paradise:
After 2 hours here, we then continued onwards for about another 20 minutes to the ruins of Ancient Kourion, an ancient city-state and formerly one of the island’s most important city-states in antiquity.
There’s a sexy clifftop 2nd century Greco-Roman amphitheater that faces the Mediterranean and still used today as an outdoor performance venue.
East of the theater, you can explore the ruins and fifth-century mosaics of the House of Eustolios, which was originally a private villa but was transformed into a public bathhouse in the early Christian period.
There’s also a beach down below.
The views everywhere here are stupendous:
And don’t miss the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates, about a 3 minutes’ drive up the hill:
Halfway towards reaching the west coast of Cyprus, we paid the obligatory respects to Petra tou Romiou. According to Greek mythology, this is said to be where love was born when Aphrodite — the goddess of love and beauty — arrived on the foam of a wave.
After another 15 minutes of driving we finally arrived at Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its preserved Greek-Roman ancient ruins and where the mosaics at Nea Paphos are said to be some of the most beautiful in the world. Like those among Kourion, Paphos is home to a few ruins of its own including the Roman Odeon and the Villa of Theseus, a 2nd-century Roman house featuring a preserved mosaic of Theseus fighting the Minotaur.
Another 10 minutes’ drive north from Paphos led us to the Tombs of the Kings, a large necropolis carved out of rock and dating back to 4th century B.C., as well as the Shipwreck of MV Demetrios II, which has been grounded off the coast since 1998. Having been navigated without the legal maritime certificates and under questionable leadership, the ship was abandoned and purposely left on a shallow to rot instead of the high costs of trying to move it to a scrapyard.
After an exhausting day of driving and ruins, we recharged with a lazy dinner in Paphos and by 10pm we turned the car right around back and returned to Nicosia by midnight. But instead of going to bed, our group rallied once more and hung out in the old city at D’avila Cafeé until “curfew” at 2am. . . .that’s 2 nights in a row now!
- At time of posting in Paphos, it was 21 °C - Humidity: 83% | Wind Speed: 13km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy